Reds remember Griffey's stay in Cincinnati
Retiring legend spent eight years with hometown team
ST. LOUIS -- Reds right fielder Jay Bruce grew up idolizing Ken Griffey Jr., wore the same shoes as Griffey and had a poster in his room.Unlike most kids and their sports heroes, Bruce also got to play with Griffey as a rookie in 2008. On Wednesday, hearing the news that Griffey had announced his retirement from baseball was difficult.
"He's been playing most of my life," said Bruce, who was born in 1987. Griffey debuted for the Mariners in '89. "Whew, it's surreal to hear him say he's done. To me, he's definitely one of the top five, top 10 players to ever step on the field."Griffey was already bound for the Hall of Fame after a prolific career in Seattle from 1989-99, but he demanded a trade to his hometown Reds. It was the team his father -- Ken Griffey Sr. -- played for in the 1970s with the Big Red Machine. The stay would last nine years. "We were very honored to have a first-ballot Hall of Famer like Ken play for us for nine years," Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. "The Griffey family is at the center of baseball tradition in Cincinnati, and Ken and his father gave our organization and Reds fans many wonderful memories. Not only was Junior one of the best baseball players of this or any other generation, he is a wonderful person and family man. We wish Ken, Melissa and their family success and happiness in life off the field." After he arrived in town on Feb. 10, 2000, Griffey and Reds fans had ambitions of bringing championships to Cincinnati. When he was traded to the White Sox on July 31, 2008, Junior left with just one winning season in '00 and no postseason appearances. The lack of success created a love-hate relationship between Reds fans and Griffey, who was always uncomfortable with attention that came with being a celebrity in the small town where he grew up. He often internalized media criticism and fans' booing and took it personally.
Sharing the power
|Jimmie Foxx||302||A's||222||Red Sox|
|Ken Griffey Jr.||417||Mariners||210||Reds|
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.